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09/21/2010 11:31 AM     print story email story  

Wal-Mart To Install Thin-Film Solar in California, Arizona News

Wal-mart (NYSE: WMT) announced plans to install thin-film solar installations at 20 to 30 sites in California and Arizona.

The installations are expected to supply up to 20% to 30% of the total energy needs for each location and add to the 31 crystalline photovoltaic installations Walmart already has in California and Hawaii.

Thin film solar panels look similar to the traditional crystalline panels, but require fewer raw materials to manufacture, resulting in a smaller environmental impact over its life cycle. The Walmart projects are using both copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and cadmium telluride thin film. The company’s large scale on-site installation of CIGS could help further the development of this technology and bring it to market quicker, while use of cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film could help make the case for other businesses to adopt the technology for on-site commercial use.

The coompany SolarCity will design, install, own and maintain the new solar installations. The CdTe panels will be made by FirstSolar (Nasdaq: FSLR), and the CIGS panels will be made by MiaSole, according to Greentech Media.

“By leveraging our global scale to become a more efficient company, we are able to lower our expenses and help develop markets for new technologies,” said Kim Saylors Laster, Walmart vice president of energy. “Developing and incorporating new renewable energy sources, like thin film, reduces energy price risk and aligns very well with our commitment to solving business challenges through technology.”

In addition to the 500 green jobs the project installations will create or support in California and Arizona, these Walmart projects are also supporting green jobs at facilities in Ohio and California, where the majority of the thin film is manufactured.

Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s CEO, said the project was made possible in part by financing from PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) and National Bank of Arizona, as well as incentives from the APS Renewable Energy Incentive Program and the California Solar Initiative.


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